Brown Pelican Spotted at Lake Kirby


Thursday at noon, April 3, 2008, Lorie Black spotted this Brown Pelican at Lake Kirby. A few Audubon members rushed out to the lake and refound the bird and some photos were obtained. This is a very rare sighting for the Big Country. Brown Pelicans are common along the coast and this may be a first Taylor County record. To see more pictures of the Brown Pelican, go to Rare Birds Gallery. I’m sure more pictures will be added if the pelican sticks around for awhile!

4 responses to “Brown Pelican Spotted at Lake Kirby”

  1. Most interesting. This appears to be an adult bird in breeding plumage. As in most bird species, wandering Brown Pelicans are more often juveniles. Note the pinkish pouch color. Some pelicans have red pouches in breeding season and this fades to pink or yellowish. I would expect a healthy red-pouched bird to be in “high color” at this season. Red pouches were once considered a charactistic of the western subspecies and found only on Pacific Coast birds. We have nemerous red-pouched birds breeding on the Texas Coast and this is not mentioned in the literature until after the recovery of the Texas population. The Texas Brown Pelican population was less than 100 birds in the early 1970’s. The appearance of red-pouched birds caused speculation as to the origin of part of the recovering population. I have one recovery report from the Mexican Pacific Coast of a Brown Pelican I banded as a nestling near Corpus Christi. I have not been able to varify this report.

  2. Another comment: After looking at the other photos I note what may be some dark feathers in the white head plumage. If so, this may well be a bird just getting it’s first breeding plumage. If the bird is not in good health the molt may just be messed up. The dark brown hind neck, part of breeding plumage, seems to be well developed.

  3. Edna, I went back to Kirby between 11 am and noonish and did not relocate the pelican. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. If anyone else goes looking, please let us know if you find it.